Sep 17, 2010

Four-legged Friends

When did I become a dog person?

We had two dogs when I was young; a generic black mutt and a collie (think "Lassie"). They got old and passed away in due course. Mom and Dad never chose to get another dog. A cat made an appearance early in my teen years and just passed away this summer.

I got my own cat somewhere around the end of 2003. Heinlein is still alive and kicking, having been adopted by former roommates when my living situation changed to preclude pets (2006 or so).

In 2009, MrsZ and I bought our house, and shortly thereafter adopted a pair of young barn cats from one of my former coworkers. I love cats - they're relatively low-maintenance, can be friendly, and they get rid of mice... but they aren't dogs. There is something just right about a good dog.

Last winter we started kicking around the idea of getting a dog, but it got put off while we continued to settle in to the house and get life in order. I kept half an eye on the local SPCA web site, but none of their dogs really grabbed my attention. We were being moderately picky about what we wanted in a dog: female, medium-size (40-70lb or so), preferably short-hair, good disposition, non-puppy, and preferably not a senior citizen. We also wanted a dog that had potential for some kind of training, be it hunting with me or hanging out with the livestock.

Monday of this week, I glanced over the list of dogs at the SPCA and found one that looked promising. A year and a half old (or so), 60lb, hound mix, and female. We went over to visit her Tuesday evening and promptly fell in love. "Sugar" was low-key, attentive, very good about being handled, and seemed like an ideal dog. She didn't have much (any?) training, but that's correctable.

Paperwork was filled out, and we spent Wednesday picking up all the assorted stuff that a house needs to have a dog. Leashes, collar, bowls, crate, toys, food, treats, run, and on and on. We got everything set up, gated off our dining room (laminate floors, easier clean up!), and this evening, we picked up the dog formerly known as Sugar formerly known as Lady.

We went home via a stop at the pet store for a harness, and she spent the trip sitting up in the back seat of the truck watching the world go by. At home, we took her out to the designated Potty Spot, and waited ... and waited ... and waited. After twenty minutes of standing there while she sniffed around the area (and nothing else), we wandered over to meet the goats. She was thoroughly intimidated by the goats and never got close enough to the fence to get zapped.

We went inside, let her explore the dining room (still on a leash), meet the cats through a gate, find her water bowl, and then took the leash off.

She promptly made a puddle on the floor. *sigh*

Back out we went. She heels well, so when I got down to the Spot, I looked down at her ... and was looking at an empty collar. I turned around and found her standing three feet behind me, waiting. Proper adjustments were made, and we wandered around the yard a fair bit more.

Housebreaking is going to be a long process, I think.

But, she's awful sweet, and I think she's a great match for us.



Atom Smasher said...


doubletrouble said...

She's a cutie!

Anonymous said...

Pretty dog! Here's to the potty training going as well as possible. :)


Wally said...

I just celebrated my lab's 9th birthday this week. I got her when she was 6 months old, not a lick of housebreaking or training. It was a long 6 months as it was my first dog too... Now that the hard work is done, it's all gravy.
Good luck and may you clear the hurdle (or hurdles, puddles, and eaten tin foil!) quickly!

Lissa said...

What a pretty puppy!! Mike and I want our first dog as soon as we have a house :) (I don't expect The Rajah to like it, but oh well.)

ZerCool said...

Lissa, I'd *highly* recommend either getting a puppy so Rajah can be top kick right away (although that will entail all the puppy training), or talking to the shelter you get an adult dog from to find out how they do with cats.

Our local SPCA asks prior owners, and will "test" a dog with cats in the shelter on request.

Christina LMT said...

Congrats, ZerCool and Mrs. ZerCool, on the addition to the family! You'll be surprised how quickly she'll get the hang of the housebreaking business...all they want to do is please us, after all. :)